The Truth, Mainly - 02/11/2008

The President vs. Rush Limbaugh
by Leon Satterfield

I've never been a fan of Rush Limbaugh, but I've finally run across some words of his that I can't stop reading. The words were reported—and repeated—by Howard Kurtz in a piece for the Feb. 5 Washington Post about what Limbaugh has been saying about John McCain.

You remember: John McCain, the guy who seems to be outrunning all the other Republican presidential candidates. And Rush Limbaugh doesn't like him. Doesn't like him to the extent that he would rather see Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama as president instead of the GOP front runner, John McCain.

"If I believe the country will suffer with either Hillary, or Obama, or McCain, I would just as soon the Democrats take the hit. . .rather than a Republican causing the debacle," Rush said. "And I would prefer not to have conservative Republicans in the Congress paralyzed by having to support, out of party loyalty, a Republican president who is not conservative."

Then he said that McCain had "stabbed his own party in the back I can't tell you how many times."

That's the way of vilifying someone without giving the evidence for the vilification. You just say that it happens so often you can't put a number on it.

McCain's strategists released a letter to Limbaugh from Bob Dole who wrote that McCain was a loyal Republican and that "I proudly wore his POW bracelet bearing his name while he was still a guest at the Hanoi Hilton"—a facility that Limbaugh has not been known to patronize.

When the Republicans lost both the House and the Senate in 2006 Limbaugh said he'd been "liberated," and that Republicans had "let us down," and that "I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don't think deserve having their water carried."

And when McCain won the New Hampshire primary last month, Limbaugh warned that if McCain or Mike Huckabee get nominated "it's going to destroy the Republican Party. It's going to change it forever."

How'd you like to have Rush on our side?

CBS's Bob Schieffer told McCain on "Face the Nation" that "Rush Limbaugh says you're an impostor." MSNBC commentator Carlson Tucker asked McCain this: "Wouldn't it just be easier to fly down to Palm Beach and take Rush Limbaugh out to dinner and slobber all over him? Why not suck up to Rush Limbaugh?"

To which John McCain said he's not much interested in what Limbaugh has to say. "I don't listen to him. There's a certain trace of masochism in my family, but not that deep."

And I think I just had an epiphany: Republicans tolerate Limbaugh because he makes the rest of the GOP come across as wise and kind and electable.

Listen to Rush for a while and President Bush starts sounding kind and wise. Even when he proposes a record high $3.1 trillion budget for 2009. You know what that number looks like, don't you? It was in this newspaper last Tuesday. One trillion is a one followed by 12 zeros. Take a deep breath. Here it is: $1,000,000,000,000.

The President proposes three times that for next year's budget.

How do you like those apples?


Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail address is:

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